ONTD Political

She's not serving me, she's serving the lich king!

7:18 am - 11/08/2012
Despite what the Republican Party of Maine might want people to believe, playing "World of Warcraft" does not make a person unfit to hold office.

Or so Colleen Lachowicz proved Tuesday night.

Lachowicz plays "World of Warcraft" as a level-85 orc named Santiaga. She is also a newly elected state senator in Maine.

Lachowicz, a Democrat, beat Republican incumbent Thomas Martin Jr. to become the senator-elect for Maine's District 25 — this after the Republican Party of Maine launched a campaign to out her love of the fantasy role-playing game.

Maine's GOP had accused Lachowicz — a 48-year-old health-care worker — of living a "bizarre double life" and set up a website revealing her participation in "World of Warcraft." Not only did the site show off a picture of the orc rogue assassin character she plays, it also dug up online comments she made about her love of the (sometimes violent) game. The Republican Party also sent out mailers as well as a press release claiming her "disturbing alter-ego" had been "revealed."

But while the Maine GOP had hoped the "World of Warcraft" outing would sour people on her as a candidate, it seemed to have the exact opposite effect. Lachowicz suddenly found herself in the international spotlight, appearing in headlines and on news programs around the world (check out my interview with her here) as gamers flocked to her defense and showered her with support.

And then, on Tuesday night, Lachowicz beat Martin with the final vote tally at 8,666 to 7,753. Despite the small numbers, it was a big win, especially since the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee had labeled Maine's District 25 state senate race one of the key battlegrounds in the country.

"I’m so glad people were able to reject the negative personal attacks that have no place in politics," she told NBC News by phone Wednesday. "It really should be about talking to people about what they want in their government. Not the negative stuff. No one needs that."

She said that she believes, ultimately, the Republican attacks backfired on the party.

"So many people in the district were just appalled," she said. "And a lot of the people I talked to were young, first-time voters and they seemed to be the most incensed by it. They saw it as a personal attack over something that is a normal activity these days — to play video games. And I heard some people say, 'Oh they're saying the same thing about me.'"

Indeed, as news of Lachowicz's win has spread, gamers from around the world have flocked to her Facebook page to offer congratulations.

"My heartfelt congratulations, Santiaga. I hope (and I really believe) that you will perform as good in your new office as you have in your duties as a Rogue of the Horde," wrote supporter Victor Börjesson.

Kathryn Welteroth, a level-90 Worgen from Massachusetts, quipped, "New achievement unlocked: obtain government position. Congratulations!"

And for all her gaming fans, Lachowicz posted a familiar tune — the victory fanfare from the Final Fantasy games.

Lackowicz had previously told NBC News that she had had to put her "WoW"-playing on hold because she had been so busy with the campaign. But now?

She says Blizzard sent her copy of the latest "World of Warcraft" expansion — "Mists of Pandaria." It was signed by the entire development team. After she catches up on her sleep, she plans to give it a play.

source wants more Pokemon trainers in the House
poetic_pixie_13 8th-Nov-2012 04:40 pm (UTC)
Ngl, I often worry what'll happen if, on the off-chance my writing actually takes off, my alt handles and general online life are found out.
skellington1 8th-Nov-2012 04:41 pm (UTC)
Knowing fandom and the internet... probably legions of fans asking to friend you/join your guild. :P
msdevin92 8th-Nov-2012 04:53 pm (UTC)
Oh god, this. So much embarrassment from the young teen days.

On the other hand, I'm using my GW characters as templates for something in a book, so...
the_physicist 8th-Nov-2012 05:13 pm (UTC)
i'm so utterly useless at keeping my identity anywhere near secret. i'm just happy in the knowledge that no one will every care enough to connect any dots. i guess writers have the chance to publish under a pseudonym though and that would make it harder to find out who you are and through that what online accounts you've used in the past?
skellington1 8th-Nov-2012 05:18 pm (UTC)
i'm so utterly useless at keeping my identity anywhere near secret.

You and me both! My only hope is that A) no one will ever care enough to look and B) I do TRY not to be an ass anywhere, and to present fairly consistently, which means that I'm posting embarrassments, not huge ethical failings. In other words, as long as I never run for office I should be good, right? :P

Oh, wait, I have one more line of defense! My biggest/most-linked fanfic project is SO DAMN LONG that it takes over 30 chapters to get to the smut. Surely anyone digging would get bored before they got there. :P
the_physicist 8th-Nov-2012 05:40 pm (UTC)
eh, i don't really care if anyone finds my fanfic. in all i've only written two sex scenes and one of them involves Spock's cock freezing Kirk's tongue because of 'alien biology' so they decide condoms are the way forward. i would not take it badly if someone decided to make fun of me for writing that XD .

there are a (currently and hopefully forever password protected) forum or two on which there is a vast amount of very private stuff about me and in general i give away more online anyway because of anonymity. which i then guess i am not good at always keeping up. but only one person 'offline' knows i'm a survivor. there are some other things like that which i keep close to my chest normally and don't really want to get out. i was paranoid during the time where i was out online but not IRL. as i'm coming out though, that little bit of paranoia is gone though at least, lol.

i'm sure no one will ever check though anyway. XD

Edited at 2012-11-08 05:42 pm (UTC)
skellington1 8th-Nov-2012 06:02 pm (UTC)
LOL, hooray for alien safe-sex lessons (I write in mass effect and one of the aliens has hallucinogenic skin secretions; I don't ship him, but you can guess all the places THAT goes in fic).

The halfway-out thing must be the hardest. I don't have direct personal experience, but one of my dear friends is only out as transgender to select people in our town. Since she works in a relatively public position for a company owned by a known homophobe it's a bit of a minefield for her. I brief guests on being discreet on her behalf and only invite trustworthy people to things at my house (she's quite introverted and my house is one of the only places where she's out in a social setting in our area), but it's tricky. My parents know but my little brother doesn't, for instance. Not because we think he'd be mean, but because he can't keep his mouth shut. She feels safer when she's traveling, for the same reason it's easier to feel safe online.

I can certainly see that being a huge issue online, especially once you get into things like facebook that want to link that profile TO EVERYTHING.

Hell, I've certainly admitted some things to near-strangers on the internet that I'd only admit to dear friends (if at all) in meatspace. Oh, the things we do when we feel we're talking alone in the dark. ;)
the_physicist 8th-Nov-2012 06:29 pm (UTC)
Oh, the things we do when we feel we're talking alone in the dark.

basically ;) .

I really hope things go well for your friend and wish her all the best. Leading such a double life must be very hard for her with not end in sight. I understand the bit about travelling too. I work abroad a lot.

For most of my life I've been petrified to be myself because things did not go well for me at all in highschool with a transphobic attack. I know I'm very fortunate now that I'm a) alive and b) in the position now where I can be myself. I know many aren't, just like I used not to be able to. It can be a matter of protecting your life, sadly. :/ Now, I have some lingering paranoia because of my past, but that is dying down as people are generally being very supportive in the here and now.

Facebook. *shudder* Yeah, that can be a huge problem :/ .
skellington1 8th-Nov-2012 06:54 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry you had that highschool experience. Simply being bullied is bad enough on the lasting-repercussion front; I can't imagine trying to work through an experience where you were actually afraid for your physical well-being.

My friend's situation is far from idyllic, but she is doing so much better than she was a few years ago. She's in her fifties and grew up in the American south. Just getting the internet in the 90s and learning that what she was was a *thing* was huge, and despite being very careful about it, she's out with more people more comfortably than she ever has been in the past; she's seeing a therapist and getting hormonal treatment; she's just happier than she's been in years, and it's great. Talking about her makes me smile, which is why I'm doing it so much. <3 :) The situation is bad, but the direction is overwhelmingly positive.

Our city is generally very supportive, too. The real worry is that, like a lot of places in the states, if you get fifteen minutes out into a rural area the whole scene changes. She and I became close friends through recreational endurance cycling; we get out into the sticks a lot, in areas with bad cell phone coverage, on bikes instead of in cars. Still, there's a lot of hope for creeping change! She and another friend were stopped by a total redneck recently, and while her other (cismale) friend was worried, the guy was totally kind and polite. Seeing people defy negative stereotypes like that is always a confidence boost.
the_physicist 8th-Nov-2012 07:25 pm (UTC)
Glad she's doing better! I didn't realise how energy sapping it was to pretend until I stopped. It can make such a huge difference to be taken seriously too and have support. I can empathise with your friend. I didn't know people like me existed until i got involved in comms on LJ. Okay, basically there was also "boys don't cry", but that didn't make me think I had any options or that I wasn't "crazy". That was also another one of those weights... so glad for the internets. ;) It helped with my trans* and intersex issues and dealing with the attack too, really.

I also get the rural thing completely. A lot of rural parts of Europe are no different. I got the hell out of there and to the UK so I could live in London. It's hard to accidentally walk into the countryside when you start in the city centre XD . I think attitudes are now starting to change for the better in general, which is great. But there is still so much way for it all to go, in some locations more than others...
keeperofthekeys 8th-Nov-2012 07:29 pm (UTC)
I had an account at elfwood I had to have purged because I'm the only person with my name and lol weird ass fantasy stories I wrote when I was 14 cropping up as #1 on a google search.
celtic_thistle 8th-Nov-2012 09:08 pm (UTC)
I've often wondered this. I've had an online persona~ since 2001 when I wrote Digimon fanfiction (lol) and if I ever do somehow become famous...oh god.
This page was loaded Dec 12th 2017, 12:45 am GMT.